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Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment

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  • Armin Falk
  • Christian Zehnder

Abstract

This paper provides field experimental evidence on the prevalence and determinants of discrimination and in-group favoritism in trust decisions. We observe choices of about 1,000 inhabitants of the city of Zurich who take part in a sequential trust game, in which first movers can condition their investments on the residential districts of second movers. Our main results can be summarized as follows: First movers discriminate significantly in their investment choices, i.e., strangers receive different investments depending on the district they live in. The systematics of the discrimination pattern is underlined by data from an additional newspaper study, where participants correctly guessed the outcome of the study. In terms of district characteristics two factors seem to be key for a district's reputation: while expected trustworthiness of a district increases in the socio-economic status it decreases in the degree of ethnic heterogeneity. Observed discrimination is not just based on mistaken stereotypes but can at least partly be classified as statistical discrimination. This can be inferred from the fact that, on a district level, both expected return on investment and actual investments are positively correlated with actual back transfers. First movers correctly anticipate different levels of trustworthiness and discrim- inate accordingly. Furthermore, we provide evidence of in-group favoritism, i.e., people trust strangers from their own district significantly more than strangers from other dis- tricts. Finally, we discuss individual determinants of discrimination and in-group favoritism.

Suggested Citation

  • Armin Falk & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 318, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:318
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Stoop, 2014. "From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 304-313, June.
    2. Brandts, Jordi & Solà, Carles, 2010. "Personal relations and their effect on behavior in an organizational setting: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 246-253, February.
    3. Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Vogel, Claudia, 2008. "Religion and trust: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 832-848, December.
    4. McEvily, Bill & Radzevick, Joseph R. & Weber, Roberto A., 2012. "Whom do you distrust and how much does it cost? An experiment on the measurement of trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 285-298.
    5. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2015. "Stereotypes and Madrassas: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 247-267.
    6. Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth & Karine Straeten, 2009. "Immigration and Natives’ Attitudes towards the Welfare State: Evidence from the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 345-370, May.
    7. Montizaan Raymond & Cörvers Frank & Grip Andries de & Dohmen Thomas, 2012. "Negative Reciprocity and retrenched pension rights," Research Memorandum 053, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    8. Gerald Eisenkopf & Pascal Sulser, 2013. "A Randomized Controlled Trial of Teaching Methods: Do Classroom Experiments Improve Economic Education in High Schools?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-17, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    9. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 592-612, March.
    10. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    11. Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann & Andreas Kontoleon & Jonathan Newton, 2015. "Is it a norm to favour your own group?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 491-521, September.
    12. Daniel Ji & Pablo Guillen, 2010. "Trust, discrimination and acculturation Experimental evidence on Asian international and Australian domestic university students," ThE Papers 09/12, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    13. Altmann, Steffen & Dohmen, Thomas & Wibral, Matthias, 2008. "Do the reciprocal trust less?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 454-457, June.
    14. Hammermann, Andrea & Mohnen, Alwine & Nieken, Petra, 2012. "Whom to Choose as a Team Mate? A Lab Experiment about In-Group Favouritism," IZA Discussion Papers 6286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Drouvelis, Michalis & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2013. "Group identity and leading-by-example," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 414-425.
    16. Holger Stichnoth, 2012. "Does immigration weaken natives’ support for the unemployed? Evidence from Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 631-654, June.
    17. repec:spr:inrvec:v:65:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12232-017-0285-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2009. "The strategy method lowers measured trustworthy behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 157-159, June.
    19. Wiederhold, Simon & Riener, Gerhard, 2012. "Hidden Costs of Control in Social Groups," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65407, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. Beaurain, Guillaume & Masclet, David, 2016. "Does affirmative action reduce gender discrimination and enhance efficiency? New experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 350-362.
    21. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    22. Tom Lane, 2015. "Discrimination in the laboratory: a meta-analysis," Discussion Papers 2015-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    23. Rajkamal Iyer & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "Are there Cultural Determinants of Entrepreneurship?," NBER Chapters,in: International Differences in Entrepreneurship, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Lane, Tom, 2016. "Discrimination in the laboratory: A meta-analysis of economics experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 375-402.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discrimination; In-group Favoritism; Trust; Trustworthiness; Reciprocity; Social Capital; City Development;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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